“Popular acceptance of the widely contested theory that climate catastrophe threatens us because of our clogging the atmosphere with carbon dioxide emissions gains ground with even the most frivolous and deceptive claims for its validity,” writes Frank Devine in this morning’s edition of The Australian.
“We have got to at least take the insurance that the people who say so [that there is a greenhouse effect] might be right … the planet deserves the benefit of the doubt,” said Rupert Murdoch, famously urging international action on climate change in 2006. He went on to commit his global empire to becoming carbon neutral by 2010.
Murdoch’s national Australian broadsheet is nothing if not a campaigning newspaper. It chooses its marks with care and with an eye to boosting a big C Conservative (and sometimes self-consciously contrarian) agenda in the national discussion. It has a gift for picking a theme on the ascendant and then pursuing it with numbing rigour. Industrial relations? Check. Asylum seekers? Check. James Hardie compensation cases? Best ignored. Climate Change? Check.
It is good to see, given rapidly escalating recent evidence of the paper’s vigorous climate change scepticism (Frank Devine’s intransigence on this theme has, of course, been long standing), that it can act with such breezy disregard for the publicly expressed views of its proprietor. It might be bad for the planet, but it’s surely a victory for free speech and boldly independent editorial judgment.